Reducing e-waste by giving products a ‘second life’
1 July 2021

Electronic equipment is one of the world’s fastest-growing waste streams with 53.6 million tons produced in 2019 globally across all sectors whilst only 17.4% was recycled. Liberty Global’s approach to reducing e-waste is one initiative that demonstrates how companies can ingrain sustainability into their business models and ensure that their operations minimise the impact of their products on the planet.

First, they operate a subscription model to dematerialise their services by retaining ownership over their set-top boxes and modems, giving products a second life. Once a customer decides they no longer need the service, their device is returned for reuse. More than 27 million devices were refurbished this way since 2012, avoiding 40,000 metric tons of waste.

Second, Liberty Global works with its product development teams to reduce material waste. This means, for example, building more modular products and designing for easy repair to extend product life, or reducing the volume of materials such as plastics, metals and electronics, to ensure resource efficiency. The company introduced its very own Product Sustainability Scorecard with over 80 key performance indicators to measure and improve their devices’ performance. This tool is also used to encourage supply chain manufacturers to do the same.

Liberty Global’s award-winning Mini-TV box, launched in 2020, emphasises the value of integrating such a sustainable approach into the product design-phase. Made from 35% recycled plastic without using single-use plastics in its casing, the TV box is 77% more energy efficient than its predecessor. By positively impacting both their own environmental footprint as well as that of its end-users, Liberty Global demonstrates how telecommunications providers can take concrete and effective action in their mission to enable both the digitalisation and greening of European societies.

Liberty Global: Committed to Europe’s climate agenda

A leading converged video, broadband and communications company with operations in five countries across the European Union, Liberty Global is a strong supporter of the Green Deal goal to become the first climate-neutral continent. As the first cable operator worldwide with approved science-based targets for reducing carbon emissions, Liberty Global is already recognised with CDP Global Leadership Status, is included in the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and recently continued its commitment with the Green Bond launch and signing of the European Green Digital Declaration as a founding member.

Circular economy
The Green Way
Story contributor
Liberty Global
@Liberty Global
Key numbers
metric tons
Waste avoided since 2012